Slaughter numbers jump by 2.2 billion

Despite the euphoria caused by the proliferation of plant based dietary options in shops and restaurants, the statistics don’t bear out the wishful thinking about veganism taking over the world any time soon. In fact, given the accelerating climate catastrophe with the terrifying extreme weather events in every paper and news bulletin, the numbers make me seriously doubt the number of humans taking our mortal peril as a species seriously.

In the most recent statistics, the total number of land-based individuals whose lives are hacked from their terrified throats in slaughterhouses across the globe has leapt from 74.9 billion to 77 billion – an increase of almost 2.2 billion in a single year.  Even allowing for a 0.1 billion increase in the global human population (7.7 – 7.8 billion), this is a disaster for our victims and ought to be a sobering bucket of cold water for every company and organisation sounding fanfares of ‘victory’ and raising funds on the back of imaginary reductions in slaughter numbers.

Meanwhile, whatever the feel-good publicity says, our species is creating more victims than ever. Examining the statistics, one stark fact is unavoidable. The entire obscene increase is being borne by chickens. At 66.5 billion the previous year, now almost 69 billion of these defenceless creatures are facing the desperate existence we inflict on them for our dietary indulgence and a death that we can’t even bear to contemplate. Add in other birds such as ducks, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl etc and the number is 73.2 billion.

I appreciate spreadsheets may not appeal to many and I intend to write further on this topic but I’m including the raw figures from FAOSTAT here for any who are interested.

The immediate message, however, is crystal clear. We have to stop this. Really stop it. Not just talk about it, not allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of false optimism by wishful thinkers and those who want our cash because they keep trumpeting about ‘victories’. The statistics don’t lie. *

The only true victory for our defenceless victims, is a new vegan. We must take responsibility as individuals and knuckle down to what needs to be done for the sake of our victims and the planet we share with them. If we’re already vegan, we need to work harder, advocate harder, be more creative but above all, be honest. It’s urgent.

Be vegan.


*NB The numbers above, which average at 2,443 individuals per second(!), do not include numerous other groups including:

  • Marine creatures – estimated deaths 2.7 trillion annually. Because ‘catch’ is counted in tonnage that disregards ‘bycatch’ I don’t know of  a source of reliable statistics that details the actual number of individuals who die for our dietary indulgence;
  • Male chicks killed by the egg industry – currently estimated at 7.4 to 8 billion annually;
  • Bees in the honey industry;
  • Silk worms;
  • Frogs, snails and other amphibians;
  • Insects such as crickets executed for ‘novelty’ and ‘alternative protein’ markets;
  • Dogs, cats and other species slaughtered in ‘backyards’ or slaughterhouses not contributing to FAOSTAT;
  • Wildlife dying from loss of habitat and climate change caused by farming other species;
  • Laboratory test subjects;

And that list is attributable mainly to the market for consumption. Numbers skyrocket once we add in those whom we victimise for other reasons, such as:

  • Individuals slaughtered for their fur, fleece or skin;
  • Trophy hunting;
  • ‘Culling’ of indiginous creatures so the ‘farmed’ animal profits may be maximised;
  • Deaths in the ‘entertainment’ industry;
  • Deaths of individuals incarcerated in various establishments such as zoos, safari and water parks etc.


As noted above, all statistics are derived from FAOSTAT


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27 Responses to Slaughter numbers jump by 2.2 billion

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  11. Reblogged this on 57billiondotorg and commented:
    As always, this hard-hitting blog reminds us just how much we take animal suffering as the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Mary Finelli says:

    “Marine creatures – estimated deaths 2.7 trillion annually. Because ‘catch’ is counted in tonnage that disregards ‘bycatch’ I don’t know of a source of reliable statistics that details the actual number of individuals who die for our dietary indulgence”
    For numbers, see:

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Andi Hayes says:

    This increase is most likely caused by a lot of people “eating less red meat” and switching to chicken instead of going vegan. To combat this, there needs to be even more plant-based chicken options while educating people that birds are not “stupid,” that they they have feelings and emotions, and that the places they come from are hotbeds of bacteria, filth and diseases waiting to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Onyx Escence says:

    I don’t see hunting numbers or culls for other reasons besides farming….ie goose round ups in the US and other places. And ‘Game’ is too low to include all the animals killed in hunting.


    • Indeed, as the post describes there are many groups whose numbers are not listed, as only registered slaughterhouses that submit statistics to FAOSTAT are included. In so many cases, statistics simply do not exist or are speculative at best. If you know of any reputable sources for accurate statistics, please don’t hesitate to advise and I’ll check them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for this. Part of the problem is subsidies. Governments pay animal-killing businesses to increase and/or sustain production (killing) even if demand for the products (dead animals) decreases. Enormous amounts of dairy milk and dead animal bodies are dumped and/or stockpiled.

    Animal agriculture receives many billions of dollars in the form of subsidies, meaning that the taxes vegans pay are supporting animal agriculture. Governments give the money to the biggest companies so that the small ones go bankrupt. That is why we hear of dairy companies closing. All their business is being taken over by the big companies. And the government is making sure this happens. There is a vegan organization called “The Justice League” in the USA that is trying to get money to hire lobbyists to lobby on Capitol Hill for the end of the government subsidies to animal ag. There is also a vegan lobbying organization in Canada, I believe.

    So there are two fronts for vegan activists: 1-making as many people as possible vegan, and 2-stopping government subsidies to animal agriculture. Both of which seem like impossible tasks. Personally, I feel very defeated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree that the twin goals of promoting veganism and tackling subsidies should be our most immediate focus. The tasks are indeed huge. For myself, I try to take small comfort from the fact that – although individual actions are clearly not reflecting the situation – at least veganism as an imperative and the links of nonveganism to mass extinctions and climate collapse are being talked about in the mainstream.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. karen338 says:

    Thank you for posting these numbers. As you say, we can’t get carried away with the idea that plant-based foods are soon going to replace animal products in the marketplace. The increasing human population is one negative factor. There is a likelihood that plant-based foods will simply take their place among all the other food choices people want and consider their right to have. We have to keep fighting for animals and vegan living, but realistically. Globally, there are no “victories” for animals in the food industry to date: just the opposite.
    Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

    Liked by 4 people

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